The Obama campaign has insisted that Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks about marriage equality echoed President Obama’s belief that gay and lesbians should be treated equally under the law. Senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters that Biden’s statements “were entirely consistent with the president’s position, which is that couples who are married, whether they’re gay or heterosexual couples, are entitled to the very same rights and very same liberties.” Obama and Biden, he insisted, are still evolving in their support for marriage equality, but believe that discriminatory measures like the Defense of Marriage Act are “unconstitutional and that if people are married we ought to recognize those marriages and afford them the rights to which they’re entitled.”
But this afternoon, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter seemed to admit that Biden’s remarks did in fact go further than the administration’s stated position:
MITCHELL: The question to Joe Biden was not about civil unions. The question to Joe Biden was about marriage. Marriage is different from civil rights, civil unions, equal protection under the law. Marriage is a sacrament and a legal sacrament that the Vice President was asked about it and he said he had no problem with it. That is not the same.
CUTTER: He said he had no problem with committed couples forming….he was really impressing the same policies as this president, as this administration….
MITCHELL: [Biden said] ‘I’m absolutely comfortable with men marrying men and women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same equal rights.”… Is the President of the United States comfortable, as the Vice President said, ‘with men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying another’?
CUTTER: Andrea, I’m not going to make news on the president’s views on gay marriage today.